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A dart store sells all the accessories desired by those who enjoy playing the game of darts. From flights to boards to scoring devices, there’s a wide range of gear for aficionados. Dart stores can sell either commercial or personal equipment.
Who is this business right for?
This business is excellent for a dart master. Because there are many places online that customers can buy dart equipment, it is important to be knowledgeable and passionate about the game of darts, so customers will look to you for expertise and recommendations that they cannot get while buying products online. Customers will be looking for an expert who can show how to get the best possible game, and recommend products based on their personal body type and throw style. A dart store can also be a good business for a local artisan who can make personalized boards or flights for high-end clients.
What happens during a typical day at a dart store?
Owners may handle the following in any given day:
- Selling/customer service
- Marketing and website maintenance
- Researching dart opportunities (e.g., tournaments, etc.)
- Managing employees
- Sourcing/making products
What is the target market?
The target market for dart store owners doesn't necessarily have to be hard-core players, though they will certainly be the most enthusiastic bunch when it comes to new products or developments. Bars are popular establishments no matter where you live, and drinking can be more fun when there's an activity to do. The target market can be anyone who enjoys games or any establishment owners who want to give their clientele a better experience.
How does a dart store make money?
Dart stores set profit margins based on public demand and the original cost of the item. If you’re planning on making your own custom dart boards and accessories, you’ll need to account for not just the cost of the items, but also the time you spent making it and the space you needed to sell it. For example, if it took you 10 hours to make one board and $40 in raw materials, you may want to charge $300 for the completed product.
What is the growth potential for a dart store?
Growth potential may be limited in the beginning, especially if you’re living in an area where darts aren’t very popular. Most equipment is built to last, meaning a bar may not buy a board for a decade or two. However, it's possible to create public demand if you can get the word out, or capitalize on existing demands in highly populated areas.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful dart store?
Being a notable player in the world of darts can be a great start. People will come to you for advice they can’t find anywhere else. Master dartboard craftsmen will also start with an advantage because they can build a clientele based on unusual dartboard designs.
What are the costs involved in opening a dart store?
Costs are generally determined based on rent for the location and the price of the wholesale materials. You will need to secure permits from local officials, who may or may not charge additional fees for setting up the store. If you plan to employ help, you'll need to budget for their salaries as well.
What are the steps to start a dart store?
Once you're ready to start your dart store, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your dart store is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your dart store keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
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What are some insider tips for jump starting a dart store?
The key is to look for opportunities when it comes to selling dart equipment. There are millions of casual dart players around the world, even if the sport isn’t as popular as it used to be. Owners may be able to generate interest by starting dart leagues around their area. There aren't a lot of hurdles to playing darts, and a dart league can provide some much needed novelty in people's lives.
Leagues will increase your business right off the bat, and turn your store into a staple around town. You can also consider specializing in selling either electronic or standard dartboards. Bars typically prefer electronic dartboards because they can charge for every game a customer plays. However, some players may not like them and may avoid bars that have them. Knowing your clientele can help you decide the best path to get started.
How to promote & market a dart store
Your promotion depends on your target demographic. You can sell primarily to commercial business owners looking to make money, in which case you may want to start out by networking. You can sell primarily to dart pros, and market your store as a gathering place to share ideas and exchange advice. Get involved with and advertise to specialized social media groups, or at bars that host tournaments. You can also sell to amateur players looking for something to do on a Saturday night in their basement. In this case, you may to use website or print ads that highlight the fun and friendly competition of a dart game.
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How to keep customers coming back
Customer service and quality products are two major factors. Customers are looking for someone who can answer their questions and meet their requests. You should also be listening to your customer’s suggestions, especially in the beginning. This means that if someone comes in and asks for a dartboard with a certain picture or print on the board, you should try to make it happen before telling them no.
How and when to build a team
You don’t necessarily have to build a team if you’re just getting started. You may choose to have your dart store open only during certain hours, or to make it by appointment only. Once you get a steady clientele, you can look for fellow dart lovers to take over the shifts you can’t cover.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a dart store business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A dart store business is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a dart store business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your dart store business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
How much can you charge customers?
People are willing to pay to ensure their equipment is top-notch. A specialty dartboard can cost $300 or more, and specialty darts can sell for up $1,000! An electronic dartboard can cost around $250, and a standard cork dartboard may cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Most people will pay between $50 to $100 for a solid set of quality darts too. New flights are typically just a few bucks, but owners can charge more for specialty flights.
What are the ongoing expenses for a dart store?
Ongoing expenses for dart stores tend to be low, depending on how often you need to replenish your product. Other than that, all you’ll need to do is pay your rent, utilities, and employees.
How much profit can a dart store make?
Profits are highly dependent on your clientele and marketing strategies. For luxury clients, you can set your gross profit margins at about 40 - 50%. For general goods, you may want to set your profit margins closer to 20 - 30% (subject to demand.)
How can you make your business more profitable?
You may want to consider offering lessons to your clientele as a way of boosting business, or setting up a lounge where people can pay by the hour. They might be willing to pay to practice without being hassled by a fellow bar member asking to be a part of the game. You could even consider taking your business to local corporations as a way to encourage creativity and recreation among busy professionals.